BNP's road march to Ctg starts today
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is set to announce fresh agitation programmes, including mass processions across the country, from a rally in Chittagong tomorrow, ending a two-day road march.
The main opposition party's road march towards the port city starts this morning from the BNP headquarters in the capital's Naya Paltan.
According to the schedule, Khaleda will address the rally at the Polo Ground in the port city tomorrow afternoon.
Leaders of the four-party alliance -- BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami, Khelafat Majlish and BJP -- and other like-minded parties including Islami Oikya Jote will join the road march, organised to mount pressure on the government for reinstatement of the caretaker government system.
On her way to Chittagong, the BNP chief will address two street rallies at Noor Manikchar ground in Chandina and Madhya Muktijoddha College ground in Comilla. Later in the day, she will speak at a rally in Feni, her home district.
Apparently, the road march is going to be an expensive political showdown as over 1,500 arches have already been erected at many points on Dhaka-Chittagong highway and the port city to welcome the leader of the opposition.
BNP insiders said at least Tk 12,000-15,000 was needed for each of the arches.
In the capital, the sources added, the party has rented around 3,000 microbuses for the march. A microbus for two days costs at least Tk 10,000-12,000.
BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, however, said the number of vehicles in the motorcade would be around 6,000.
The BNP standing committee last night discussed the preparation for today's road march. They also discussed the agitation programmes to be announced from the Chittagong rally.
The committee, however, did not finalise whether the party would announce a “Dhaka blockade programme”.
Senior leaders said the chairperson would finalise the programmes in consultation with the party colleagues during her stay at the Chittagong circuit house tonight.
Chittagong City Mayor M Manjur Alam will receive the BNP chief at the city gate. Khaleda will spend the night at the circuit house.
The port city and different parts of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway have been decorated with arches, portraits of party bigwigs, banners, posters and placards to welcome the opposition leader.
BNP Chairperson's adviser Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, also president of Chittagong city unit of the party, said it would not be surprising if two million people show up at the Polo Ground rally.
Addressing a press conference at a hotel in the port city, he hoped the government would not attempt to obstruct the programme.
Meanwhile, BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi yesterday alleged that the government was trying to hinder the programme. “People will resist any attempt to foil the road march,” he warned while talking to newsmen at the BNP central office.
He hoped that over 4,000 vehicles would take part in the road march from the capital while another 2,000 will join in the middle of the journey.
The BNP chairperson on September 27 last year declared three road marches towards Sylhet, Rajshahi and Chittagong to drum up support for reinstatement of the caretaker government system.
The Dhaka-Sylhet march was held on October 10 but the one to Chittagong was postponed due to Eid and Hajj. The Rajshahi road march was later redirected to Chapainawabganj.
The BNP chairperson also led another road march towards Khulna on November 26 and 27.
The caretaker government provision was scrapped from the constitution through the 15th amendment last year. As per the existing provision, the present government will hold the next parliamentary election. BNP and allies say they will not let the national election take place without a non-party caretaker government.